Niseko Grand Hirafu

One of the main agenda for this Japan trip, other than to play and experience snow, is to learn how to ski.

We had heard that for beginners, places with powder snow is a good learning ground. As the snow is soft and fully, there'll be no bruise if we were to fall. So Niseko having earned a reputation as being one of the best powder-skiing destination in the world was enlisted in our itinerary as our to go destination for the ski lesson.

To get there CORRECTLY, take the train to Otaru station and then make a train change in Otaru towards the direction of Oshamambe. Alight at Kutchan station, which is the closest major station. There is no direct train and you'll need to get a taxi from Kutchan station to get your hotel in Niseko.

Having trusted Google map, we followed its instruction and alighted at Hirafu station. It is the most isolated train station we did ever been to during this Japan trip... Seriously! There was no gantry, no station attendant, no people nor taxi waiting outside the station. That place is deserted! Total isolation...!!! 

Hirafu station
There's nothing but snow and a few houses...!!! !!!...we were at a panic mode for a moment until we saw an instruction on a small piece of paper sticked to the wall advising travelers to either had back to Kutchan or call a taxi. We chose to do the later and then waited for about 20mins for taxi to arrive... phew!~*

There are four ski resorts around Niseko area: Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Village, Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Hanazono. All the four resorts surrounds and operated around the same mountain, Mount. Annupuri. To read more about each resorts, see here.

We had chosen to go to Niseko Grand Hirafu following recommendation from a friend's friend and due to its proximity to Niseko Base Snowsports (NBS) which was our ski lesson and equipment rental provider.

On the streets of Niseko Grand Hirafu
View of Mount Annupuri from Niseko Grand Hirafu
A view of Mount Yotei from Niseko Grand Hirafu
I'm not sure about the other resorts around Niseko, however when at Niseko Grand Hirafu the feeling we got is that we are in a western country with lots of Japanese restaurants, which is good and bad at the same time. Good because we got no communication problems; bad because it doesn't feel like we are in Japan.

We spent a total of 5D4N for the leg at Niseko Grand Hirafu. The first and last day were for traveling. 2D of morning ski lesson with NBS (followed by our own practiced session after lunch until the area closes) and did a 1D of free and easy skiing day at Niseko Hanazono.

One of the many beginner slopes in Niseko Grand Hirafu
Taking the ski lift to complete our Level 2 skiing lesson!
Niseko Hanazono
We stayed at a b&b called Moorea Lodge. Paid the price of approx $130 per night for a mixed bedroom of 4-bedder that only has a Japanese communal bathroom with the door of the male and female bathroom facing each other. Yes, it is abit expensive but that is because we are not rich...! Haha... 

I really enjoyed this part of the holiday the most because I got to learn new things a.k.a skiing, eat lots of good food and had the opportunity to make Bill (our snowman). 

A photo with Bill!
I didn't got any bruise or blisters from the falls or from wearing the ski booths, but JB wasn't that lucky. He'd had some very serious blisters on his feet and shin-bang as a result of poor fitting with his ski booths.

What's more is that we got to do a countdown to 2016 watching torchlight skiing and some small display of fireworks from the base of the mountain. Although the celebration might seemed simple, I was truly grateful as this is as close as it can get to my winter wonderland dream.

Happy new year 2016!


Stupidgale is a Sino-Kadazan office nerd during the day and leisure blogger by night. She enjoys writting about everything under the sun and is currently living in Singapore with her family (including teddygirl the corgi).

1 comment:

Abet said...

I love this kind of place! With the skiing and all.
Snow.. Beautiful snow.
Living life to the fullest!